Sports ‘n’ Things: Count down to puck drop

"...the first full Smoke Eater game for 2015/16 will take place in exactly two weeks."

Hard to take in, when it is above 40C on our deck for days on end, but the first full Smoke Eater game for 2015/16 will take place in exactly two weeks.

That will be the first of four exhibition games for the Smokies, all leading up to a season start on 9/11 and the first home game of the season a day later.

The Nitehawks, who have seven exhibition games on their schedule, also begin for-real play on 9/11 and have their first home contest a day later.

The scheduling conflict repeats the following weekend, which is too bad for both clubs, who will be competing for weekend fan turnout three times during the first month of the season.

Things will be better in that regard mid-September for the Nitehawks, as the Smoke Eaters will be on the road for almost three weeks after their Sept. 19 tilt with Merritt.

Scheduling conflicts have been slightly reduced the past couple of seasons, but still occur often enough to hurt the bottom line of both local clubs. What with the number of actual hockey fans apparently shrinking, that can pose a problem for the bottom lines of both.

The Nitehawks keep rolling along, producing season after season of excellent results. The Smoke Eaters, at least in part due to budget considerations, consistently struggle to achieve even a round of post season play – often despite providing high quality hockey entertainment.

We are in the season of hope, again, however. Nitehawk fans are hopeful and confident, of another exciting post season run for their club. Smoke Eater fans are fingers-crossed hopeful of at least a return to the post season for a team which may contain as many as half a dozen local kids and has roster returnees that showed (the dreaded) promise last year to go with a couple of highly touted new signings.

It comes down, for Trail, to a good start. Even lackadaisical, “Home of Champions,” so-called fans will eventually turn away from whatever screen is eating their minds on game nights to support the top level of local hockey if the team is highly competitive.

What may really need to happen, if Trail is to maintain its junior A franchise over the long term, is for more sponsors to follow Dan Ashman’s lead and  guarantee longer term support for the club so it can plan in a longer term way.

However it all turns out, I am looking forward to the rollout. Fans looking more forward than I can begin scouting the junior hockey potential of the area in just about a week, with both teams training at Cominco Arena in preparation for the season from that time.

Season tickets for both teams are, of course, available right now.

See you at the rink.

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Lemon Creek fuel truck driver gets $20,000 fine

Danny LaSante was sentenced in Nelson court today

Actsafe BC brings expertise, new lighting to Trail theatre

Consultants are all technical directors in Vancouver theatres with years of experience in the field

Hospital improvements good news for entire region, says Trail mayor

West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board will review the matter next month

Life insurance can be a business expense

Tax Tips & Pits with Ron Clarke, Trail Times columnist

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read